In advertising and marketing, there are graphic designers and there are illustrators. Then there are Frankensteined monster hybrid designer/illustrators. These monster types can seamlessly use their illustrations to create beautiful and unique designs, that can really set a brand apart from its competitors.
All the designers at Gaslight are of the monster persuasion, which means that our weekly production meeting schedules usually end up taking on a sketchbook look like this:
But our work usually ends up looking like this:
You might find yourself asking, how does a designer become such an anomaly?
This is the true story of how I became a Designer/Illustrator. As far back as I can remember, I don’t remember having a coloring book growing up. My mom would buy a ream of xerox paper instead, and I would draw and color my own creatures, aliens and whatever else I could dream up. For whatever reason drawing came naturally and I have been, for lack of better words, “drawn” to it all my life. (pun intended) I gravitated towards Dr. Suess’ “Green Eggs and Ham” Mercer Mayer’s “Just Me and My Dad” and Marice Sendak’s “Where the Wild
Things Are” books based on their hand drawn, sketchy, illustrations. I was in awe of the imaginary world Mark Kistler would create on “Secret City Adventures”, and I remember emulating Bob Ross’ landscape painting techniques with watercolors in my third grade art class while other kids were painting stick figures. I practiced drawing Looney Tunes characters over and over and can still draw the Tasmanian Devil from memory. I knew early on in life that I wanted to have a career in art, but I didn’t really know what that meant. I had heard the beloved “Peanuts” illustrator Charles Schulz had went through the Art Instructional School’s home correspondence course providing him with training in cartooning and illustration. Perhaps you remember the well circulated, “Draw Me! Tippy Turtle” flyer. I was in the process of looking into this program during my senior year of high school, when I fell in love with Photoshop. Although I wasn’t certain I could make a career out of photoshopping mustaches on the football cheerleaders, I did recall my guidance counselor saying, “Do what you love.”
My first freelance job was illustrating 12 remedial math book covers for a high school family friend’s company. They had a graphic designer who was too busy to do it. They were impressed by my initial cover designs and hired me to layout all the books as well. I learned InDesign and hired a team of my design school friends. We did all the designs, layouts and illustrations on this 9 month project. Most of the illustrations were simple line drawings like apples and baseballs, but my path started to mutate.
I cut my teeth at SCSU Career Services, who hired me as a graphic designer to produce all their promotional marketing materials. I spent 2 years in a dim, fluorescent lit, corporate environment with no photography budget. All I had to comfort my type and layout designs were my illustrations. My tentacles tightly wrapped themselves around Adobe Illustrator embracing it for saving my designs. My junior year I took a printmaking class and my claws sunk deep into screen printing. Band t-shirts, posters, snowboards, beer coasters… all these things that appealed to me were all screen printed with beautiful and unique illustrations. When I broke free from the mind melting clench of college, I found refuge at an internship with a screen printer in Alaska. I was groomed to use my peculiar skills designing and illustrating apparel for all kinds of events, businesses, and sports teams. My strengths were expanding and maturing, until the print industry could no longer contain me. I was crushing vehicle wrap designs, shattering website designs, and shredding billboard designs. There came a time when the angry villagers captured me and forced me back into print production, unwilling to let the monster out. However, I was able to break free once again, and I took solace amongst the other monsters here at Gaslight. All of which have their own stories as to how they were transformed into beautiful hybrid designer/illustrator beasts.
Gaslight Creative’s monster squad of designer/illustrators can help you with your illustrations.
Make your own Monster
For decades, the “Draw Me” heads have been the start to many students’ journeys in becoming better artists. You may recognize Tippy the Turtle, Petey the Pirate, and others from various advertisements throughout the years. We put together our own version so you can “Draw Mo”.
Download the Official “Draw Mo” submission form here and upload a photo of your monster illustrations to our facebook page.